Burma and Congo visa in East German passport 1956

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Burma and Congo visa in East German passport from 1956

Burma and Congo visa in East German passport from 1956

Very happy to find this early East German (GDR) passport. Issued in Berlin 1956 and with several exciting visas and two exceptional visas. Only in early GDR passports maybe till 1960, you can find such “exotic” entries. The wall was build in Aug 1961, and traveling to non-communist/socialist countries was almost impossible. Exceptions only for such people like this passport holder who was traveling on several “service visa” so we can assume he was somehow an “official” and a party member of the SED. His travel document was once only valid till 1958 for Italy and transit countries but renewed till 1968 and valid for all countries. A twelve-year validity of a passport at this time is quite unusual and so are his visas.

Burma Congo East German

  • GDR entry/exit visa 1956, 1958, service visa 1959
  • Sweden 1958
  • GDR entry/exit visa 1964 for Far East/South East Asia
  • BURMA 1964 issued in TOKYO (but no JAPAN visa!?)
  • CONGO 1965
  • Yugoslavia 1965
  • Austria 1965
  • GDR service visa 1965
  • GDR service visa to Yugoslavia via Czechoslovakia 1965
  • SWITZERLAND 1968 issued in Berlin on a separate paper and “Only valid with Olympic ID card and passport.”

Burma Congo East German Burma Congo East German

I found little on the name “Wolfgang Noack” during my research, but he was a STASI spy (State security agent) with the code name “Schwarzdorn.” He signed his agreement with the STASI on 28. April 1953 (MfS AIM 1848/63). Source: German magazine DIE ZEIT, 2013. A fantastic travel document from early East Germany and one of the highlights of my GDR collection. Nowadays I do have the earliest and the last passport of the German Democratic Republic in my collection, plus some pretty unusual travel documents of a state which existed just for 40 years.

Burma Congo East German

Burma and Congo visa in East German passport from 1956

FAQ Passport History
Passport collection, passport renewal, old passports for sale, vintage passport, emergency passport renewal, same day passport, passport application, pasaporte passeport паспорт 护照 パスポート جواز سفر पासपोर्ट

1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...